24 hours in… Milan

Great things to do when you have a day in Milan.

Milan in Northern Italy is the capital of the Lombardy region, and after Rome, it is Italy’s most popular city.

Bursting with art, history, museums and being one of the world’s leading fashion capitals it is sure to be a whirlwind visit. Boasting a chic, sophisticated mix of old and new, Milan has something to tempt the tastes of every visitor.

There are a host of sights to be seen in the city and it would be impossible to see them all in a day, but with the beauty being both inside and out, you can easily enjoy the wonders even if you only pass by.

We’ve tried to highlight some standout ideas on how to use the precious time of one whole day in Milan.

Where to start in Milan

There is no better way to start your day than with a freshly brewed coffee, especially an Italian espresso. Incidentally, did you know that a cappuccino is considered only a morning drink in Milan?

One of the best places to enjoy coffee is from the rooftop at La Rinascente, a department store with more than just shopping.With panoramic views over the rooftops of Milan, it is sure to be a breathtakingly energising experience.

For an authentic start to the day visit Bar Magenta for a Milanese coffee. Opened over 100 years ago it is a café with history and iconic status. For a true Milanese experience stand at the bar to enjoy your brew rather than take a seat.

Places to visit in Milan

Duomo di MIlano (Milan Cathedral) is the third largest gothic cathedral in the world and the largest in Italy. Taking nearly 6 centuries to build its design is breath taking and its grandeur and scale overwhelming.

Occupying the central point of the city, Milan radiates from the cathedral creating a focal point for the people of Milan and Italy. The cathedral is beautiful to view from the outside but for a fee you can access the inside and the roof top where you can really appreciate the stunning architectural design in closer detail.

Santa Maria delle Grazie (Holy Mary of Grace) is a church and Dominican Convent. It is home to the world famous mural ‘The Last Supper’ by Leonardo di Vinci housed in the monastery. A quaint church home to a masterpiece, an attraction definitely worth including on your visit. To protect the building and famous mural, visitors allowed into the church and monastery are carefully monitored, therefore tickets are required. Tickets cannot be purchased on the day but will need to be bought in advance. Sometimes up to three weeks prior to your visit – so make sure you plan ahead.

Poldi Pezzoli Museum was founded in 1881 by the collector Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli. It is one of the most regarded house – museums in Europe. The impressive collection features Renaissance paintings, unique collections of decorative arts including porcelain, glasses, textiles, clocks and many more. An admission fee is charged but it is worth it to see the gorgeous house and stunning collections.

Museo Teatrale alla Scala is a small but impressive museum near the opera house and is well worth a visit if you are interested in the performing arts.

Included in the collections are costumes, set designs, musical instruments and autographed scores.

The museum ticket allows you to see inside the opera house from the 3rd floor balcony so long as no rehearsals are taking place.


Sforza Castle was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza. It is a grand castle that is home to a vast collection of sculptures, paintings, furniture and works by Michelangelo. Not only are the castle and collections well worth a visit but it stands in beautiful grounds featuring pretty landscaping and fountains.

Shop in Milan 

Milan is a city famous for being a leader in the world of fashion. Home to Milan Fashion Week you can be reassured that the shopping opportunities will meet your expectations.

An experience that must be enjoyed is a wander through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping arcade. Designed in 1861 it is the world’s oldest active shopping arcade. To really tempt the taste buds of your fashion and shopping desires is Europe’s most expensive street, Via Monte Napoleone, also spelled Via Montenapoleone. Famous for ready to wear fashion, jewellery and shoes, it is a street home to many famous designers. Even taking a walk amongst the shops is a whirlwind experience due to its dramatic window displays.

Top Tips for you 24 hours in Milan

  • Where possible buy all tickets for attractions in advance.
  • On foot is the best way to see Milan but a Milanocard can be purchased to provide unlimited transport.
  • Don’t forget your camera but remember not all places allow photography.
  • Many places you visit will conduct safety checks and bag checks. It is worth leaving larger bags at your hotel and save shopping for after your visits.
  • There are many places to experience great, authentic food and sometimes food enjoyed alfresco in one of the parks could be just as memorable as a restaurant.

With so many interesting places to visit in Milan, there are far too many to include all in one day.

Whatever you choose to include in your visit though, you are sure to be amazed by a city as stylish and creative as Milan.